apogee and abyss

To have dived deep with a thousand fish,
sailed mile-high steering a flying ship;
To have body surfed at the Golden Gate,
and cut black diamond in the Matterhorn’s gaze.

To have crossed the Danube, Seine and Nile,
touched Grand Canyon rapids and Kilimanjaro’s smile;
To have reveled in some grand hotels,
and huddled in the darkness where Maasai dwell.

To have eaten dim sum on Hong Kong Island,
ostrich in Kenya and chitterlings in Oakland,
Edam in Haarlem and kimchi in Seoul,
tapas in Madrid and in Rio de Janeiro.

To have scaled the Great Pyramid’s sacred steps,
and descended into its black depths;
To have slept and dined in Turkish homes,
and swum among Grecian ruins.

To have been lied to, cheated on, discharged and laid off,
robbed blind, psyched out, picked on and put off;
To have been overworked, hard up, in debt and at risk;
To have covered up, undermined, gambled and lost it.

To have dropped out, boozed up, dragged on, passed out,
thrown up, miscarried, broken down and cut out;
To have lost a brother, scattered ashes of my dad,
now to watch my mother melt away into sand.

To remember all of these things that I’ve felt and done—
none have raised me up or dragged me down like my son;
my little boy is both despair and utter bliss,
Calvin is my apogee and my abyss.

photo by Michael Kolster